TORONTO, ON (October 1, 2011) – New York forward Thierry Henry scored an 88th minute goal, as the Red Bulls earned a hard-fought 1-1 tie against Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Frenchman’s team-high 13th tally of the season, which pushed him into second in the MLS Golden Boot race, elevated New York’s point total to 40 off an 8-7-16 record. New York maintained its hold on the final MLS Cup Playoffs wild card spot and are just four points adrift of Eastern Conference leader, Sporting Kansas City with three games to play.
Both teams looked to get accustomed to the chilly and windy conditions at BMO Field in a scoreless first half. In the 11th minute, Toronto FC defender Ashtone Morgan tried to test goalkeeper Frank Rost from long range with a shot that went well over the crossbar. Moments after, forward Danny Koevermans also had a go and Rost went comfortably to his right to hold onto the ball.
The Red Bulls worked the right wing in the 16th minute and it almost paid dividends. Jan Gunnar Solli slipped it to an on-rushing Dane Richards, whose ensuing cross got to Luke Rodgers, but the forward could not get his attempt on target. Rafa Marquez, playing in the midfield for New York Saturday, ripped a free kick three minutes later straight into the arms of goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
New York had the best scoring chance for either side in the opening interval seven minutes from halftime. A good offensive build-up led to Roy Miller curling a cross into the box that found an open Rodgers, whose header was punched away by a diving Kocic. In the 43rd minute, the hosts nearly took the lead with Peri Marosevic’s left-footed blast zipping past the left post.
Toronto FC broke the deadlock five minutes after the break. Ryan Johnson was able to drive into New York’s half before sliding it to Koevermans on the left side of the box. Koevermans was adjudged to have stayed onside and hit a shot that Rost deflected but could not keep out.
The Red Bulls looked to get back into the game after the first goal and exerted a significant amount of pressure on the hosts. In the 64th minute, a Stephen Keel long ball went to Henry, who was able to get enough space to force Kocic to tip away his attempt. Soon after, Henry dribbled towards the Toronto FC box and strung a through ball to Rodgers. Rodgers took a touch and could not keep his shot down. Henry was again the provider with 20 minutes left in the match, as his cross from the left wing went to Solli, whose header was wide right.
New York was set to return home with nothing if it weren’t for Henry’s heroics two minutes from full time. The Red Bulls earned a corner kick and Dax McCarty’s delivery dropped in the box. Henry was the first to it off the bounce and with his back towards goal, used his right foot to control it before blasting it with his left foot into the back of the net from nine yards out.
The Red Bulls return home to face the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 8:00 PM (TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; Radio: WADO 1280 AM).